"Asteroid Falling to Earth" by State Farm is licensed under CC BY 2.0

A Meteor as Powerful as 10 Nuclear Bombs Exploded in The Sky, And We All Missed It

Mar 19, 2019

By Michelle Starr

A few months ago, on 18 December 2018, a massive airburst in the skies above Earth exploded with the equivalent of 173 kilotons of TNT.

That’s over 10 times the amount released by the Hiroshima bombing (15 kilotons), and the third largest meteor explosion in over 100 years, coming in behind the 2013 Chelyabinsk explosion (440 kilotons) and the Tunguska event in 1908 (at least 3 megatons).

How on Earth do you miss such a huge explosion? Well, there wasn’t anyone around to watch it happen.

It exploded above the clouds over the Bering Sea, near but not near enough to the closest land, Russia’s Kamchatka Peninsula.

A meteor that explodes in a mid-air fireball is also known as a bolide.

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One comment on “A Meteor as Powerful as 10 Nuclear Bombs Exploded in The Sky, And We All Missed It”

  • One of these days, we’re going to be hit by one of these things in a very sensitive spot, maybe a major city, or in the middle of the sea where it triggers a tidal wave. That’s assuming a much bigger one doesn’t slip below the radar, and if a meteor can be a mere ten or twenty metres wide in diameter and yet rival a nuclear blast, in a scenario where a 140-metre-wide meteor could avoid detection by NASA’s best equipment… Well, it only has to happen once.


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